Postulant life can seem to be a time in "waiting" and in many ways it is! It is a very full and rich life in itself as our newest sisters learn the "ropes" of monastic living. There is a hidden spiritual journey going on but most of the time it seems like being a postulant is finding out where things are, what the notice on the erase board means and learning how to sing all the many, many hymns and texts of the liturgy!
Every postulant longs for the day when she will start her monastic life in earnest as a novice and suddenly the day comes when she is interviewed by the council and voted on by both council and chapter. FINALLY one evening she hears the wonderful announcement that she has been accepted to begin her novitiate!
Last week our Sr. Maria heard just this when Sr. Mary Martin announced that she would receive the longed for habit of the Order of Preachers and begin her novitiate on the solemnity of our Holy Father St. Dominic!
Now begins the practical tasks of being measured for the habit, cappa and veil. In our monastery the novice sews none of her habit. At her clothing ceremony she is literally clothed by the prioress and novice mistress and this symbolic gesture reminds her that in being received into the community she has nothing and receives everything. All is held in common.
Meanwhile, the postulants have been busy preparing for the arrival of eight sisters for this year's course of the Monastic Theological Studies program for the young professed of the monasteries of our Association. Most of the sisters will be in the novitiate and every single cell in the professed dorm is being used for the remaining sisters.
There has been so much activity going on on as workrooms are being "dismantled" to use them as cells. However, there is literally no place to move the workrooms. Sr. Mary Veronica has her eyes peeled for a corner she never considered before to put her sewing machine and supplies. (She's not giving up but we last heard she hasn't found it yet!)
The postulants have class three times a week and on Wednesdays "share" their liturgy class with the postulants of Queen of Peace Monastery in Squamish, BC, Canada via Google Hangouts. It's been an interesting experience. Lots of technical glitches but both we and the Squamish monastery are learning the ropes!
For work the Sisters help in the soap and candle rooms, learning quickly how to make soaps, cremes, candles, etc. They also take their turn in the kitchen and help out in the garden.